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I posted this question: https://gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/95252/windows-installer-has-stopped-working-error-message-when-installing-amd-cataly, which immediately got closed as off-topic and downvoted, and got comments like "Isn't this a more SuperUser question than it is gaming? There's nothing here that relates to gaming."

I posted the question thinking that it is on-topic as per the FAQ:

What kind of questions can I ask here?
…If your question generally covers things such as…
Game-specific hardware and utilities
…then you are in the right place to ask your question!

I believe that the graphics card, in my case, is a game-specific hardware (I use it mainly for gaming), and its drivers is a utility and a crucial "part" of the graphics card (graphics card don't really work or work optimally without it). The people who usually use them (and encounter issues with them, especially regular driver updating) are gamers. And we have a gamer community here in Arqade. Due to those reasons I think it is on-topic and perfectly fine here in Arqade (and more so than Super User, IMO).

About the close vote reason, I believe that "better suited to Super User" is not a valid close vote reason, but 'Off-topic' is. And I already explained why I reckon the question is not Off-topic.

This also seems to be on-topic as per 's tag wiki:

Referring to problems with a graphics card, the graphics processing unit, usually on a PC, or specific settings on a graphics card for a specific game.

and 's tag wiki (a graphics card is a computer hardware):

Hardware is a collection of tangible components that comprise a computer system. Computer hardware refers to the physical parts or components of computer such as monitor, keyboard, hard disk, mouse, etc.

Also seems to be on-topic as per an answer in 'The Great Arqade Clean-Up of 2012':

Being familiar with computer hardware and common software misconfiguration is an area of expertise, which is the general basis for what makes a good tag.

And from an answer in 'Would a computer-build tag be off topic?'

We don't create tags for questions considered to be off-topic...

Also, the upvoted answers of the meta question, Non-gaming gaming console questions -- allowed? are "Yes." Questions about gaming hardware used in non-gaming contexts are allowed in this site.

Other examples similar to my question can be seen at:

If you think that my question is on-topic, then please vote to reopen it. Thank you.

Downvoter(s): Please answer or comment before you downvote. Thanks.


Posting this meta question as per my vow to bring down all of [graphics-card] if my question goes down. (I kid.)

  • The question wasn't about the graphics card's driver - the question was about the installer for the graphics card's driver. – user27134 Dec 19 '12 at 13:22
  • @pixel "the question was about the installer for the graphics card's driver" - which is required for the driver to be installed properly (and hence, part of its configuration and setup), and for the video card to work properly. – galacticninja Dec 19 '12 at 14:27
  • yes but, because it's about the installer, it's not gaming specific and never will be - that's like saying "I can't install my operating system" - that question also wouldn't on topic, but the operating system is required to play games... – user27134 Dec 19 '12 at 14:29
  • @pixel A better analogy than the 'installing an OS' analogy (which is not really close to this case), IMHO, is installing a game controller's drivers on a PC. Like the graphics card in this context, the game controller is also used mainly for playing games (although you can say that it can also be used as a generic, non-gaming input device rather than a mouse or a keyboard). – galacticninja Dec 19 '12 at 14:48
  • no - a game controller is only ever going to be used to play games, while you can use it for other things, its primary purpose is gaming, which is the difference between game controllers and graphics cards. Graphics cards' primary purpose is not gaming, it is displaying the output from your computer on a visual device – user27134 Dec 19 '12 at 14:52
  • @pixel "Graphics cards' primary purpose is not gaming" I disagree with this, especially in this context. I already mentioned the reasons in my comments and my question. Graphics cards and game controllers are used mainly for gaming, if in a gaming context similar to this one. "…it is displaying the output from your computer on a visual device" That's like saying you use a game controller so you can "input tactile commands to your computer". – galacticninja Dec 19 '12 at 15:05
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    Disagree with me all you want - it's factual that graphics cards are used for displaying the output from a PC on a visual device, graphics cards are used for rendering Aero in Windows (and yes, a low performance graphics card will prevent this from happening), they're used for drawing web pages in modern web browsers, they're used for GPU computing with OpenCL/Cuda, you can even use your graphics card to assist with SETI@HOME. – user27134 Dec 19 '12 at 15:08
  • @pixel "graphics cards are used for rendering Aero in Windows" This is so a decade ago. The Nvidia FX series (released 2003) supports Windows Aero. Virtually every video card currently in the market supports Aero. Anyway, none of those examples are relevant in a gaming context. Except OpenCL/Cuda, but that just shows that graphics card are used mainly for gaming (in this context). As a PC gamer, I don't use my graphics card mainly to look at the cool Windows Aero features or for the wonderful webpage rendering of my browser (actually, I prefer hardware acceleration in my browser disabled). – galacticninja Dec 19 '12 at 15:26
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    Now you're trying to justify the point of the question using your own point of view, rather than the factual point of the hardware. Unfortunately, your own point of view doesn't make it correct, graphics cards are not only used for games, their primary purpose is not gaming, graphics cards do exist that can't play games, graphics cards do exist that excel at 2D rendering, thus "graphics cards are for gaming" cannot be true. – user27134 Dec 19 '12 at 15:28
  • I'm bored now, have fun! – user27134 Dec 19 '12 at 15:29
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    @pixel True, I'm justifying from my point of view, but I'm also speaking from a gamer's point of view (this site's audience). Also, we're going in circles. My rebuttal to that is already mentioned in my comments and in my question. – galacticninja Dec 19 '12 at 15:38
  • While we disagree, I am going to point out that upvoted both the original question and the meta question, the original out of pity (I don't agree with closing and downvoting, the reason to downvote is not the same as the reason to close in most cases) and the meta because it's a decent enough query to be asking for clarification on. – user27134 Dec 19 '12 at 15:42
  • @pixel Thanks for the upvotes. Also, there's no need to pity. In the end, it's just another internet post. =) – galacticninja Dec 19 '12 at 16:02
  • Pity was totally the wrong word to use! – user27134 Dec 19 '12 at 16:02
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    There will certainly be overlap in expertise between Arqade and Super User as far as graphics cards go. However, I think once you run into issues for the installer of the graphics card's drivers, you've left the purview of Arqade. – Trent Hawkins Dec 19 '12 at 16:05
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Disclaimer: I did downvote the question when it was originally asked, and my comment seems to be the primary instigator of the close votes. I did not, however, cast a close vote.

I think the disconnect that is happening here is with the terminology of, "Game-specific hardware and utilities". The point of that was to allow things like gaming consoles, and utilities that we, as gamers, are probably incredibly familiar with, and can help others with.

That's why we allow questions about XBoxes, Playstations, and digital distribution platforms like Steam. It's not that the hardware has to be specifically and only used for gaming; consoles, especially, have progressed beyond being simple game cartridge interpreters. My understanding of "game-specific hardware and utilities" is that if the primary use of said hardware or utility is gaming, then chances are good it's on-topic here.

The other test I would apply to a question of a technical issue nature is: Take your question, and remove games (or gaming hardware) from the equation entirely. Does the problem remain? If it does, it's usually a very good bet that it doesn't belong; it tends to be a straight technical issue where gaming is being used to link the question to Arqade.

Taking your question, it's about graphics cards. I agree, their primary use tends to be playing all those shiny, pretty games we all love and adore. So your question passes the first test. The second test, though, is where your question falls apart; updating the drivers causes the installer to crash. There are no games mentioned being played, and indeed, this is not specific to any single game. And why it would fit better on SuperUser, where the thrive on technical issues of this nature.

That's why I feel this question would be better suited to SuperUser. Their users encounter weird, strange behavior in Windows on a regular basis, and would be much better at diagnosing and resolving this problem.

As a general matter, though, we need to decide whether or not to field technical issues of this nature, and ignore SuperUser entirely. Whether there's another place for this type of question is a moot point. We have to decide if these types of questions fall into our purview, and are something we are equipped and willing to handle.

Personally, I feel these questions are outside our scope.

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    Why does a specific game have to be mentioned in the question to be on-topic? The FAQ explicitly states that game-specific hardware and utilities are on-topic; I don't think this means that you also have to mention a specific game. – galacticninja Dec 19 '12 at 15:56
  • This question about buying a graphics card (currently has 32 upvotes), with no mention of a specific game, also has to be closed and/or migrated to Super User (where I bet it would be closed) if this answer is to be followed. And so will many of the other top-voted posts with the 'graphics-card' tag. – galacticninja Dec 19 '12 at 15:59
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    @galacticninja You're missing the point, and bashing at the same point over and over; step back, take a deep breath, and calm down. Take a look at the second test I mentioned. This problem remains, even when you remove games from the equation; this looks to be an issue with Windows. Why are you so adamant that this question must belong here? – Frank Dec 19 '12 at 16:02
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    "Why are you so adamant that this question must belong here?" For reasons that I already mentioned, and because I believe that the close vote reason was not applied fairly and consistently with my question, compared to other similar questions. And because I am planning to post another question similar to it and don't want to see it downvoted and closed on sight. =) – galacticninja Dec 19 '12 at 16:16
  • I read the second test you mentioned and noticed that a lot of (highly upvoted) [graphics-card] questions fail it too. e.g. How do I buy a graphics card? (32 upvotes) When you apply the reasoning in your answer, and apply it fairly and consistently, then that question also has "no games mentioned being played, and indeed, ...is not specific to any single game", and if so, "would be better suited to SuperUser." – galacticninja Dec 19 '12 at 16:17
  • The second test is what gets applied to technical questions to determine if they're in our purview or not. Sorry, forgot to add that into the answer itself. We're discussing this in chat; care to join us? – Frank Dec 19 '12 at 16:20
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    @galacticninja The "How do I buy a graphics card?" question can at least be answered from the viewpoint of gamers - We know, in general terms at least, the requirements of our pastime. We, through our experience, can direct others on where to get the latest stable drivers for their card. We could probably even direct users to the tools necessary to clean out the old drivers before the installation of new ones. But if the windows installer used by ATI hangs in the installation process - it crosses the line where gamers can be expected to diagnose and resolve the issue. – Trent Hawkins Dec 19 '12 at 16:31
  • @TrentHawkins I believe that just like the audience of the "How do I buy a graphics card?" question (and many other questions in Arqade like it), the people most likely to regularly install and update their drivers, and experience this issue are gamers. I posted it in Arqade thinking that one of the site's gamer audience might be able to help. (Actually, someone did provide a possible solution, in chat, just as the question was being closed, or after it was already closed). – galacticninja Dec 20 '12 at 2:39
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    @galacticninja You seem to be in the minority on this, I'm afraid. I doubt continuing to insist it is, when the community believes it's not, will work. You're free to continue trying, but I think all points have been addressed, and you're refusing to accept it. – Frank Dec 20 '12 at 4:42
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Questions regarding the hardware as the relate to the capability to play games in a manner that requires game-centric expertise are what fall under "Game-specific hardware". Driver troubleshooting falls squarely within the scope that SuperUser occupies.

  • Graphics card driver-related topics don't require game-centric expertise? (Despite the drivers and graphics card being used specifically for gaming?) I mentioned this argument and explained my rebuttal to this in my question. Drivers are an integral component of a graphics card, which means that it also falls under the umbrella of allowed questions at the Arqade FAQ: "Game-specific hardware and utilities" (and "relate to the capability to play games in a manner that requires game-centric expertise"), and as such, "falls squarely within the scope that [Arqade] occupies". – galacticninja Dec 19 '12 at 8:29
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    In what universe are graphics cards "used specifically for gaming"? No, a graphics card and its driver suite are not game-specific hardware. The special controller that went to Rez was game-specific hardware. A graphics card is not. – Rilgon Arcsinh Dec 19 '12 at 8:33
  • In what universe do PC gamers not use graphics cards and configure its drivers for gaming? You're taking this out of context. What I mean was in this context, the graphics card is used specifically and mainly for gaming. If you're a PC gamer, can you tell me the main reason you purchased and are using your graphics card? Also, please share if you are using drivers with it. Also, who's Rez? – galacticninja Dec 19 '12 at 9:11
  • I'm taking this in the context of what Arqade is designed and scoped to answer. Driver issues are only ephemerally related to gaming in so much as, yes, high-end graphics cards are sometimes used for gaming. (Try watching some 720p or 1080p video on integrated graphics some time...) There is no other gaming connection aside from this. SuperUser's scope is explicitly related to computer software and hardware support, per their FAQ. Your question belonged there, not here. – Rilgon Arcsinh Dec 19 '12 at 11:17
  • "Try watching some 720p or 1080p video on integrated graphics…" My nearly half-a-decade old laptop with integrated graphics runs 720P videos just fine. I'm sure most modern integrated graphics (non mid/high-end) cards will have no issues running 1080p videos. You don't usually buy & use a discrete card (especially a mid-high end one) to watch videos, you use it to play games, especially considering that low-end or integrated graphics can be used for non-gaming purposes (like video watching) anyway. See Media Center PCs. – galacticninja Dec 19 '12 at 12:19
  • "high-end graphics cards are sometimes used for gaming" This is unlikely to be true. People don't write reviews and do benchmarks on how graphics cards work for video watching or non-gaming purposes. They are reviewed and benchmarked in how well they will perform in a video game context, and that's what most gamers look at when buying and using a graphics card. "SuperUser's scope is explicitly related… per their FAQ" And as I explained in my question, gaming hardware and utilities are explicitly mentioned to be on-topic as per Arqade's FAQ. – galacticninja Dec 19 '12 at 12:19
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    Wrong - people do benchmark graphics cards that are optimised for 2D rendering and used for CAD - these cards also generally perform terribly for 3D rendering. A graphics card is not a gaming specific piece of hardware – user27134 Dec 19 '12 at 13:26
  • @pixel "Wrong - people do benchmark graphics cards that are optimised for 2D rendering and used for CAD…" I thought it was Dwight Schrute for a moment there. =) What I obviously meant was in this context, and in the context as used by Arqade's gamer audience. If you're a PC gamer, you are most likely using your graphics card and configuring its drivers mainly for gaming purposes, not 2D rendering or CAD. – galacticninja Dec 19 '12 at 14:23
  • I know, I was being pedantic. :-) – user27134 Dec 19 '12 at 14:24
  • @pixel "A graphics card is not a gaming specific piece of hardware." This is obvious, just like the PS3 or the Xbox 360, which are not just used to play games, but also to play movies, browse the web, and other non-gaming purposes. But similar to the graphics card in this context, the PS3 and the Xbox 360 are used mainly for gaming. – galacticninja Dec 19 '12 at 14:25
  • Still though, the question wasn't about the graphics card's driver - the question was about the installer for the graphics card's driver. – user27134 Dec 19 '12 at 14:26
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I feel that the people who upvoted the current top-voted post just don't want to see technical-related issues with gaming hardware in this site (and would rather that they be transferred to Super User).

If you would like argue along those lines, then please just say so. Please don't resort to arguments like:

  • "graphics cards are not only used for games, their primary purpose is not gaming, graphics cards do exist that can't play games...thus 'graphics cards are for gaming' cannot be true"
  • "there are no games mentioned being played"
  • "Graphics cards' primary purpose is not gaming, it is displaying the output from your computer on a visual device"

...which is kind of ridiculous in the context of a gaming community, where a graphics card, its drivers, and their setup and configuration, are obviously for the main purpose of playing video games. It is obvious that some people (in a non-gaming context) will use video cards mainly for non-gaming purposes. Also, "better suited to Super User" is not a valid close vote reason.

Please be consistent and fair when you apply your downvote/close vote reasons. There are multiple other questions in this site that do refer to gaming hardware but don't mention a specific game, but are not closed (probably because they're either not technical-related, or the hivemind has given it a lot of upvotes).

I feel that the arguments stating that my question should remain closed (or migrated to Super User) are not strong, and are not applied fairly and consistently with my question, compared to other questions like it. Because of those reasons, it is not a good policy for this website. A better argument has to be written. If you don't want to see technical-related issues with gaming hardware in this site, and would like to argue along those lines, then please, just say so.

  • "Also, "better suited to Super User" is not a valid close vote reason." Incorrect. It is a subsection of Off-Topic, which is entirely a valid VtC reason. The only reason that it isn't an option (like meta.arqade is) is that there is no escalation path established between our mods and SU's, which IMHO should exist. – Rilgon Arcsinh Dec 20 '12 at 6:28
  • @RilgonArcsinh "It is a subsection of Off-Topic" Source? If "better suited to Super User" is a valid close vote reason, then might as well put "better suited to Yahoo! Answers" as a valid close vote reason. – galacticninja Dec 20 '12 at 6:52
  • i.imgur.com/JnOGJ.jpg - note that, as I said, SuperUser isn't there only because there has been no formal escalation path created yet. The same interface from SuperUser shows actual established escalation paths. – Rilgon Arcsinh Dec 20 '12 at 7:10
  • @RilgonArcsinh "SuperUser isn't there only because there has been no formal escalation path created yet." Source? – galacticninja Dec 20 '12 at 7:13
  • Search Meta for SuperUser. It's come up before. – Rilgon Arcsinh Dec 20 '12 at 7:13
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    Personally, I'm not a fan of technical issues here at all; the chances of the asker providing enough information to resolve the issue are slim. But the community thinks they're on topic. But technical issues related to gaming, only. We're gamers, not Windows wizards. – Frank Dec 20 '12 at 13:47

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